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politics

Subway vs LRT: You Do the Math on Scarborough Transit

Council will yet again debate whether it's light rail or a subway for Scarborough. We've got some interactive charts, to help you figure out how much each one costs.

Subways are once again on city council’s agenda, part of the ongoing, never-ending debate about the future of Scarborough transit. The City and the province already have a signed agreement to build a seven-stop light rail route; that plan would be fully paid for by Queen’s Park. This past summer, however, TTC Chair Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence) and councillor Glenn de Baeremaeker (Ward 38, Scarborough Centre)—with some enthusiastic cheerleading from mayor Rob Ford—spearheaded a push to reopen that agreement and build a three-stop subway instead.

The problem: that subway will cost approximately $1.5 billion more than the LRT, and though the federal government recently announced it would kick in $660 million of that money, city council must find the rest. This will mean significant property tax increases—something Rob Ford himself rejects (even though he wants the subway that property tax increase would purchase).

But in fact, the subway may be a lot more than $1.5 billion extra. That’s a baseline projection, assuming that interest rates stay low and there aren’t any cost overruns. If interest rates go up, or the project goes over budget, the impact on the City’s budget could be much greater.

Here is how the numbers stack up…

Construction costs
How much it will take just to build the routes, before we pay for drivers, maintenance, and day-to-day operations:

  Total Cost Cost to Toronto Length (km) Cost/km Annual ridership Cost per rider Rush hour ridership Ppl in walking distance Additional development charges
Subway 9,500 24,000
LRT $0 8,000 47,000 $0



Cost Overruns and Operating Costs
Here is your chance to really test the math. Using the drop-down menus in the chart here, you can adjust the interest rate if you think borrowing costs might go up, or you can factor in a project overrun if you’re worried about construction costs. You can also add in the operating costs: the drivers and maintenance and day-to-day management that haven’t yet been accounted for. Each time you change an assumption, our calculator will give you new numbers—you can see those changes in the project totals up above.

Total over 30 years [?] Annual cost Property tax increase [?] Annual average property tax increase [?]
Borrowing Cost [?]

Cost overruns [?]

SUBWAY operating cost [?]

N/A $0 N/A $0
LRT operating cost [?]

N/A $0 0% $0



Property Taxes
Toronto’s top civil servant is recommending a 1.6% property tax increase over the next three years; at that rate it would take 30 years to pay for the subway—and that’s just for construction costs. Add in any overruns or interest rate increases, and also operating costs (which we pay only if we build a subway, since the province has agreed to pick up the operating costs for an LRT) and property taxes would need to go up more. Based on the choices you made above, here is the property tax impact:

Total Annual Total property tax increase Annual average property tax increase [?]
Property taxes needed



Debt Levels
How would a subway affect our credit rating? In order to stay in good standing the City has established a debt ceiling of 15%, which means that the City’s debt servicing cost in any given year should never amount to more than 15% of its property tax revenue in that same year. Here is how the debt ratio would be affected by the Scarborough subway:

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Without subway
With subway



What Could We Build Instead?
Finally, there’s the question of opportunity cost: what we could build instead of a subway for the same amount of money? Here are some other ways we could spend the funds. The total at the very bottom shows the amount the subway would cost, based on all the choices you made above. Click on the alternative projects you’re interested in to see how much you could accomplish with the subway money if you put it to other uses.

Keep in mind: if we skipped the subway all of these alternative projects could be in addition to the LRT, since that would be fully funded by the province.

Alternative Project How Much It Would Cost
Amount you have to spend:

If you have any questions on how to use the calculator or how the numbers work, feel free to leave them in the comments and we’ll answer as soon as we can.


Related:

How Much Would a Scarborough Subway Really Cost?


Our thanks to Senning Luk and Dmitry Beniaminov for help with the table coding.


CORRECTION: 11:26 AM We originally referred to the City’s debt when writing about the impact on credit ratings when we meant the annual debt servicing cost.

Comments

  • http://www.leschinskidesign.com/contact/addme picard102

    Would still rather have the Extension than the LRT. Even if you could build 1000 Libraries instead.

    • dsmithhfx

      What if you could have a trip to Mars instead?

      • HotDang

        Or Risa!

      • http://www.leschinskidesign.com/contact/addme picard102

        How many libraries can we close to make that happen?

        • vampchick21

          What do you have against libraries?

          • OgtheDim

            Troll thinks you care about them.

          • vampchick21

            Actually I do, so he’s got me there. :)

        • dsmithhfx

          We can close all the libraries you patronize: none.

          • http://www.leschinskidesign.com/contact/addme picard102

            That doesn’t really solve the funding issue.

          • dsmithhfx

            Closing libraries doesn’t either. What’s your point?

          • vampchick21

            Libraries aren’t the damn problem. Refusal to consider the funding options already outlined multiple times over the course of this debate are.

    • Dan

      Pretty sure the actual Picard would be far more logical and less “I want this wah wah” (*stamps feet*)

      • Dinah Might

        It’s evil Borg Picard!

        • dsmithhfx

          Trollocutus?

    • topogigio007

      Just look at the list above and you can see the leftwingnuts are trying to ruin our city buy building condos for homeless and more libraries when hardly anyone uses them. Oh and the panam village….sure they want that built….who do you think will live in there when the game are over? Yep more homeless and people that don’t want to work. We already are the second largest supplier of community housing in North America/

  • George

    Need a map that shows how much LRT could be built for the same cost…

    • Kevin

      In theory, it could be extended to Malvern AND we could have a Jane LRT AND an East Bayfront LRT.

      • tomwest

        … and hence up with more people using transit than if the money was only spent on just the subway. Surely that’s the most important thing here?

      • Justin

        May be missing something here, but how did you calculate that? The LRT extension to Malvern itself would be 1.2 billion already according to the table?

      • Jennifer Ashford

        Clearly you failed 1st grade math. The LRT to Scarborough city center is 1.99B an extension, continuing into Malvern is a further 1.26B on top of that, Jane is 0.93B and the East Bayfront 0.3B. That adds up to 4.48B Einstein.

        • Walter

          LRT from Kennedy to Sheppard is $1.8B (I think it was 2010 dollars). The extension to Malvern was another $350M. I think Kevins math seems closer to the truth.
          I like the idea of adding $300M to this line to elevate Eglinton from Don Mills to Kennedy and connect it to the SRT.
          Using the Federal money, you could have a grade-separated line from Malvern to Mt. Dennis.

  • selonmoi

    This is amazing. Nice work!

  • Mark Dowling

    I never liked the fact that Toronto didn’t have to pay into the original Transit City plan. It has led to nonsense phrases like “fully funded” (the Spadina subway was funded by payments into a trust fund, which made it difficult for that money to be reallocated. The Transit City money is still largely on spreadsheets at Ministry of Finance and every so often when the deficit numbers come out they insert a column and change the dates at the top to add an extra year). It’s also causing problems with Hamilton’s LRT project because they don’t understand why they have to contribute to their LRT when the Province offered Toronto 100% for Eglinton, Finch West and Sheppard East (and who would blame them?)
    I think even if LRT is reinstated in Scarborough the City of Toronto should look at adding a contribution in order to bring construction schedules forward, and the same for Finch West and Sheppard East. Given that the alternative is to wait and have buses running at 90 sec intervals on these corridors, it’s not like the “don’t pay” option isn’t costing Toronto anything.

    • dealinfacts

      The only thing the province should do is dole out money to municipalities. Let Cities and their residents figure out what they need. Kinda like working all week and asking your boss if you can buy a pair of new work boots and he looks at you, taps you on the head , chucks you a buck and says, buy some laces.

  • eastegg

    Thanks for this excellent resource.

    So not only would the City be off the hook for capital cost overruns or operating costs for the LRT, but the LRT wouldn’t require the allocation of $165 million in development charges collected from across the City. That councillors are actually supporting directing these one time payments to a subway extension in Scarborough, payments which are intended to cover the cost of growth, is insane, especially considering the proposed subway extension doesn’t have the same development potential as the LRT.

    I really hope the media goes after any politician (Ford, Stintz, etc) who continues to call themselves a fiscal conservative after voting to support this subway, but I have a feeling that won’t happen.

    • dsmithhfx

      B-b-but we’ll be the laughingstock… oh heck, we already are.

    • iSkyscraper

      As this page shows, even when simplified there are a lot of numbers and concepts here, far more than the media can handle in a soundbite or headline. They won’t go after anyone.

      Low-information voters are not about to become high-information voters overnight, which is why transit is best planned by professionals and not the mob.

      Absolutely great work Torontoist, but don’t get your hopes up. After spewing so much rancor and hate, Ford has caused irreversible damage. Toronto’s (golden) goose is cooked.

      • dsmithhfx

        Everybody can understand ‘pay more, get less’.

    • Mark Dowling

      Where is the money for Metrolinx’ operating costs coming from?

      • eastegg

        The chart above shows that the province was covering it.

    • https://paul.kishimoto.name/ Paul Kishimoto

      We need to be more precise than “the media” if we want specific outlets to take the hint.

  • glenn_storey

    i ask everybody reading this to copy it into an email and send it to all councillors. the fast and easy way to do this is to send it to clerk@toronto.ca and ask to have it forwarded.

    • Lee Zamparo

      done.

  • Matthew

    I’m curious why the LRT is projected to have slightly lower ridership, even though it will have more stations and serve more people within walking distance.

    • Testu

      I think the subway ridership is projecting a higher number of riders coming in from Markham. Just like they did with the Sheppard line. It’s entirely likely the result is just as inaccurate.

      • OgtheDim

        That’s exactly what has been done.

    • tomwest

      Slower average speeds (because more stops) and the interchange at Kennedy.

  • Chris Brown

    Interesting. We can spend $1 billion to turn an elevated, grade-seperated LRT into an underground, shorter subway without batting an eye but $75,000 on chairs gets people crying over waste. Hmmm…

    • dsmithhfx

      Rob still owes us the $75,000 for those chairs he is responsible for purchasing (by his own admission).

      That will buy a few millimeters of subway tunnel. Very few.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        Doesn’t he also owe us $70 million (or more?) for cancelling Transit City contracts without authority?

      • tomwest

        At $300m/km, it would buy 25cm.

        • dsmithhfx

          How many tall boys would that be, end-to-end?

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      $75,000 will buy a lot of crack.

      • https://paul.kishimoto.name/ Paul Kishimoto

        But less than half of a crack video.

  • tomwest

    The column labelled “Cost per rider” should be “Cost per *annual* rider”. Otherwise it makes it seem like vevery rider from now to eternity gets a $99/$64 subsidy!

    • dsmithhfx

      Hmmm, yeah and “ridership” is likely also a confusing term to the non-cognescenti (mea culpa). Surely it means individual ‘rides’, rather than unique ‘riders’ (since the vast majority are likely commuting 10x per week) ?

      • tomwest

        Agreed – should be “boardings”.

  • iSkyscraper

    There is one question that I have never been straight on. Does the LRT option connect into the Eglinton LRT? In other words, if people hate the transfer so much, then make the ride seamless onto the Eglinton crosstown. This will get quite a few people to where they need to go – midtown – and actually start to attract riders away from the overcrowded Bloor-Yonge interchange. I don’t understand why this has not been studied as a minor change to the SRT-LRT plan rather than throw the whole thing out for a subway that is not needed and unfunded.

    Mind you, I’m all for spending more on subways, but build the DRL, not an extension!

    • ptanzola

      agreed – I always thought the two LRTs connected seamlessly. it makes it a much easier sell.

    • dsmithhfx

      Seamless is not really essential, and probably not very cheap, either. People will travel the shortest & quickest route, even if it involves a transfer or two. The whole transfer thing is an anti-LRT red herring. You don’t hear the subways-only crowd saying we should do away with buses because *gasp* transfers.

    • OgtheDim

      Every single person taking this proposed subway will have a transfer at some point, unless they live within walking distance of both their entry point into the subway and a subway is within walking distance of their destination.

      I enjoy my 5 minutes of exercise every morning and 5 more every afternoon going up and down 12 flights of stairs either way on a trip that uses two subway stations.

      Some poor dears in Scarborough can’t hack a couple of escalators it seems.

      Little sympathy on this one.

      • Jeff Kraschinski

        Written by someone who has never been there, no doubt.

        It’s not the escalators, it’s the waiting on the wind tunnel of a platform (especially during the winter) with the rest of the multitude, waiting upon train after train to finally get on while you’ve been blasted and probably freezing your ass waiting.

        Haven’t used it in years, but used to often enough to know how thoroughly it sucks.

        • Jacob

          That’s why LRT plan involves renovating Kennedy Station to bring the LRT platform underground. You’d only have to go up one flight of stairs.

        • OgtheDim

          Been there many…many…many…times.

          Wind tunnel? Ever waited for a bus at Finch? Ever waited for a subway at Davisville? Or even Summerhill if the wind is right?

          News flash….we live in a cold climate country where our governments don’t always build transit within shelters. Life goes on. Trains go down tracks.

          As for waiting, get used to it if the Scarborough thing is built and a RL isn’t…cause people will be waiting at Bloor for 3 – 4 trains to get on.

          • Jeff Kraschinski

            Bus at Finch? Thousands of times… and at least there you can go inside until the bus arrives most times, unless you’re talking rush hour.

            I know what country we live in, but if you can’t figure out why people might want to avoid exposure if they can help it, you’re just being obtuse.

        • dsmithhfx

          “Haven’t used it in years”

          ’nuff said ;-)

          • Jeff Kraschinski

            And I used to live a few hundred yards from Lawrence Station, and rode the thing from opening to 1995 when I moved to North York pretty much daily… so I know very well what riding it is like especially since I rode it when it was brand-spanking new and it wasn’t great then.

            Nuff said indeed.

          • dsmithhfx

            You poor thing!

    • Mark Dowling

      No. The Scarborough LRT and the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT arrive at different platforms at Kennedy Station under the existing plan. They will not operate a through service.

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      I’ve always wondered about that too. I believe the plan is to extend the crosstown east at some point. I think the SRT to lRT plan would’ve been an easier sell if the Eglinton Crosstown had turned north at Kennedy. However, no one thought that it would have to be sold and no one could’ve predicted the political circus around the Scarby LRT.

  • Guest

    A more useful analysis might look at how much it will cost to tear down the LRT and build the then-essential subway at a far greater cost in a higher density city. But I agree that the LRT makes more sense for the moment, for one reason. If they are going to build any subways, they should first build a downtown relief line, because it is desperately needed, and will also cost more and more, the later they leave it. All these minor improvements are feeding a Yonge St. line that is overcapacity at rush hour as it is. Fix that first.

  • Ian_MacMillan

    A more useful analysis might look at how much it will cost in the future to tear down the new LRT and build the then-essential subway at a far greater cost in a higher density city. But I agree that the LRT makes more sense for the moment, for one reason. If they are going to build any subways, they should first build a downtown relief line, because it is desperately needed, and will also cost more and more, the later they leave it. All these minor improvements are feeding a Yonge St. line that is overcapacity at rush hour as it is. Fix that first.

    • OgtheDim

      The only surveys that indicate the LRT will be above capacity are using the same logic that got me a nice shiny ride but no where near paid for trip along the Sheppard line every day.

    • Lee Zamparo

      “A more useful analysis might look at how much it will cost to tear down the LRT and build the then-essential subway at a far greater cost in a higher density city.”

      I don’t think this is the right way to think about coping with transit capacity. I think it’s better to build a larger network that can continue to move people where they want to go. By the time the Scarborough LRT is expected to exceed the LRT capacity to move the required number of people (approximately 30 years of growth if memory serves), other projects should be nearing completion that will provide additional capacity in the transit network.

      This does not even take into account possible technological improvements to LRT that would increase capacity per train or reduce headway between trains to improve overall throughput. LRT is not a stop-gap technology.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      “For the moment” and the next several decades. Cut-and-cover tunnel construction would also take care of removing the LRT, if the time ever comes for that.

    • https://paul.kishimoto.name/ Paul Kishimoto

      “Building a Scarborough subway in 2030 would require tearing down the LRT because _________________________.”

  • Mark Dowling

    I wish there was a way to put a $ value on how much keeping Kennedy B-D station *and* SRT almost 100% operational is. Scarborough is going to be flooded with buses during the SRT shutdown phase (TransitCity and Murray plans) and the Murray plan also likely disrupts Kennedy more with a resulting shift of bus traffic into Warden. This whole business is an awful precedent though – the failure to stamp on the notion of “deserving” is going to cost this town in both money spent and opportunities elsewhere in the City. Now will Malvernites be content with a Sheppard LRT spur (formerly intended as an SLRT extension) or do they deserve subways all the way to Steeles?

    • dsmithhfx

      “Scarborough is going to be flooded with buses during the SRT shutdown phase”

      That’ll get real ugly, real fast. There will be angry denunciations even especially from [former] subway enthusiasts, and Councillors will lose their seats (and deservedly) for this hare-brained scheme, if they vote for it. And that is leaving out the broad and steep tax hikes part.

  • Guest234

    Wow. The longer the anti-subway evangelists drink their own bathwater the better they say it tastes. This is interactive junk math at its saddest. I suppose I cant blame the authors though. This “calculator” seems perfectly calibrated with the complete set of facts as reported to date in the Toronto Star and on Rabble. There are so many twisted assumptions built into this inescapable conclusion calculator that I’m sure it will soon be reported that according to Torontoist it is mathematically impossible for a subway to ever be better for Toronto.

    I know that pointing out a few of the massive omissions in your equation is no more likely to convince you than trying to point out obvious historical inconsistencies to a religious zealot, your myopic piety is the same, but I will anyway because, as the old saying goes, all that idiocy requires to prosper is for rational people to stand by and do nothing. Here are a couple (described only briefly):

    1) In short, the costs of building subways can be reliably estimated but the LRT numbers are politically charged estimates (and out of date ones, at that). Subways are under construction in Toronto right now, and have been recently built. LRTs are novel. Those that are under construction in Toronto are at their most preliminary stages. There isnt enough room here to prove how I know this but suffice it to say that you can sure with 100% certainty that estimates for novel capital projects are always, invariably very low. There are many practical and political reasons why this is invariably true, not the least of which being simple ignorance and that most optimistic scenarios must be used to build political support for ambitious draft plans and ideas. It will always be easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission when spending double. We cant very well fill up the hole once it is dug because that would be the only bigger waste of money, they say. St. Clair is a classic example. It ended up costing literally more than triple the original budget. And no, saying that the province would be responsible for any escalated costs of an LRT does not make me feel any better as a taxpayer.

    2) You ignore the biggest numbers of all: economic growth, and development in particular. Despite its imperfections, look at Sheppard and count the construction cranes. They are everywhere. This represents assessment growth and is a windfall for the municipal tax base to the tune of millions upon millions per year. Build assessment growth into your calculator, I dare you. Yonge Street would not be what is today without a subway. Whole neighbourhoods like Yonge/Eglinton could not exist without it, including if an LRT replaced it. These would be low-midrise residential areas. Do you have any idea how much annual property tax revenue the marginal density attributable to the Yonge subway represents? Subways are absolute cash cows unless you are an idiot and think that the fare box is the only revenue derived from them. That is to say nothing about the private sector economic growth and countless other taxes that have higher yields as a result, compared to which the municipal benefit is puny by comparison.
    Sigh.

    • OgtheDim

      You do know that a lot of people who do not support the Scarborough subway plan do support the Relief Line subway idea, right?

      As for the idea of novel construction costs, EVERYTHING IS NOVEL when it comes to transit building. You think a subway without an EA isn’t novel?!?!

      As for ignoring the economic growth thing. I live in Willowdale – there is no way those people are there to take the subway. How do we know this? Because, and if you bothered to look for facts, you’d know this, Daniels corp bought transit passes to give to tenants. They couldn’t give them away….for free.
      Oh, and every single report on density increases suggests that the Scaroborough subway corridor will get nowhere near even Yonge and Egg (which isn’t all that dense when you move 3 blocks to any corner, BTW)..

      Sigh is right.

      When your done slagging and want to have a real talk, bring it on.

    • https://paul.kishimoto.name/ Paul Kishimoto

      You mad, bro? I ask ’cause you seem pretty mad.

      Objection #1 goes off the rails at “Subways are under construction…LRTs…are at their most preliminary stages.” In fact, TBMs are running this very moment both on the Spadina extension and under Eglinton. Several sentences of pontificating follow.

      Objection #2 omits that LRT, also being transit, can also support transit-oriented development, intensification, etc. If anyone has published credible estimates of these effects, they will include assessment growth due to each of the LRT and subway options. We could then compare their magnitude (and distribution) against the higher cost of subway construction. But it would be “junk math at its saddest” to attribute these benefits only to the subway option, and since the subway route and stations at hand are Glen Murray’s crayon-on-napkin invention circa about a month ago, there’s certainly been no time for such economic research.

    • kennethtoronto

      #umadbro?

      Brevity is clarity, but you seem to miss that point.

      Time to put your thinking cap on:
      Point 1: LRTs aren’t very novel. In fact, you can take a trip to Calgary or many major European cities that have extensive LRT networks, there are precedents for their construction and estimation for their costs. Oh, I also forgot, there’s also the EGLINTON CROSSTOWN LRT being built at this moment!! Nice try with the comment about the St. Clair project, but that was for a streetcar line. Of course, we don’t expect you to know the difference right?

      Point 2: if you follow the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, they are planning for densification along specific points along the line. To suggest that subways will allow densification and LRTs will somehow not is just stupid

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      There’s been over a decade of development in excess of a billion dollars along Sheppard and the stubway there could still be replaced by bus or streetcar service without reaching capacity. How many decades should we wait?

      Even Yonge south of Bloor, and Bloor between High Park and Spadina, still have stretches of low-rise buildings despite a million years of subway service. Density immediately above the line doesn’t justify the line; it takes density in the surrounding blocks to feed the line.

      Oh, and St Clair? Not an LRT.

  • Jacob

    Because “SUBWAY, SUBWAYS, SUBWAYS FOLKS!”

  • DavidPylyp

    Have you added in the BILLION dollars the Liberal party spent from the public purse to gain votes?
    Toronto could have paid for the subway in CASH all the way to Markham

    • Testu

      Nice non sequitur.

      You may not realize this but money is not allocated in the city/provincial/federal budgets the same way it is allocated in your houshold budget.

      The money the provincial and federal governments have been wasting was not, nor was it ever intended to be, allocated to transit infrastructure in Toronto.

      • DavidPylyp

        Is there a different Toronto Taxpayer who will absorb the Hydro debt repayment fees? A different taxpayer who will pay the Property Tax increase? Whether it comes out of the left or Right hand pocket Ultimately there is only one taxpayer

        • Testu

          And that still has absolutely no effect on the fact that a subway extension (as opposed to LRT) in Scarborough is a waste of money.

          The point of this article isn’t previous wastes of money by other levels of government, the point is the city has just approved a massive new waste of money, that comes directly from the city coffers. The fact that it will have deleterious effects on the rest of the city’s transit system, wasting even more of the Toronto taxpayer’s money, is just icing on the cake.

    • John Atticus

      No.

      The calculator also didn’t add in the lost money from the Harris government selling the 407 for a one-time cash infusion and loosing out on the long-term revenue.

      That’s because this calculator is designed for rational individuals who are dealing with a specific issue and want a cost-benefit analysis to compare two options.

      It is not an exercise in hyper-partisan hackery.

      Why is this hard for you to understand?

  • Westerlies

    And, there is no reason one can’t rebuild the RT for slightly larger subway cars rather than LRT cars, increasing rider capacity. Existing stations can be modified to extend platforms so nothing is wasted. And, with everything above ground, several teams can build at once for a completion date in a year. Money saved here will set the right tone with the province to pick up future costs to ditch Sheppard LRTs for a subway link underground, keep the Eglinton Crosstown underground even in Scarborough, and to dig a subway on Finch, plus construct a DRL right away.

    Wasting money on a Scarborough subway puts all of these at risk for no good reason and sets a horrible financial precedent in which the province has scammed taxpayers once again.

    • Testu

      There’s one very good reason why the RT can’t be rebuilt. Bombardier doesn’t make the cars or any rail gauge compatible cars anymore, they haven’t for decades. The RT is based on proprietary Bombardier tech, they’ve abandoned it and no one else has ever made vehicles compatible with it.

      “Rebuilding” the RT basically means replacing all the track and vehicles no matter how it’s done.

      • Westerlies

        You have been misled. The plan was always to take down the RT structure and put up a new one – which could easily hold subway cars, as much of the current TTC runs outside, often on raised tracks. A good example of this is on either side of the Old Mill station where the “subway” runs along the ground on an open track.

        Semantics and a $3B unaccounted tax grab, counted on your confusion.

        • Testu

          I’m not sure what point you’re making here.

          I’m aware that the subway runs above ground in numerous locations. I was just stating that any “rebuild” of the RT was going to be pretty much from scratch. I know the LRT plan used the existing right of way, although even that would have involved rebuilding the raised sections to accommodate the new tracks.

          I fully support the original LRT replacement plan for the RT.

          • Westerlies

            No one seems to have enough information.

          • dsmithhfx

            Well fuck it then. Let’s throw a billion dollars we don’t have in a hole, high fives and see what comes of it.

          • Tim

            Awesome comment, I am still laughing. :-)

  • Westerlies

    It’s hard to look at the RT line and see how it needs replacing. Other than having small cars, which could be augmented by running more trains, just what is wrong with the current RT?

    Excellent charts!!!

  • Testu

    You seem to be missing a lot here, rather sloppy for an accountant.

    How many pieces of track, signalling system, or subway vehicles in service now are from the original subway built in the 1950s? Hint: Absolutely none.

    The mythical 100 year lifetime refers to the expected lifetime of the tunnels themselves, not the rail components or vehicles. You may have noticed that we’re in the process of replacing the subway cars purchased in the 1980s, likewise that we’re rebuilding track that was last rebuilt about 30 years ago.

    There is no magic about a subway system that makes it immune, or even less susceptible, to wear. It is however more expensive to operate and maintain than a similar sized LRT system.

    There’s also the part where the costs for the LRT, both construction and operation were being covered by the province. Now the city is spending more money for construction and will spend even more money perpetually for operation and maintenance, for a system that serves fewer people. That doesn’t sound like a very good value proposition does it?

  • Testu

    How many pieces of track, signalling system, or subway vehicles in service now are from the original subway built in the 1950s? Hint: Absolutely none.

    The mythical 100 year lifetime refers to the expected lifetime of the tunnels themselves, not the rail components or vehicles. You may have noticed that we’re in the process of replacing the subway cars purchased in the 1980s, likewise that we’re rebuilding track that was last rebuilt about 30 years ago.

    There is no magic about a subway system that makes it immune, or even less susceptible, to wear. It is however more expensive to operate and maintain than a similar sized LRT system.

    There’s also the part where the costs for the LRT, both construction and operation were being covered by the province. Now the city is spending more money for construction and will spend even more money perpetually for operation and maintenance, for a system that serves fewer people. That doesn’t sound like a very good value proposition does it?

    • Westerlies

      The old subway cars will live out their middle and later years in third-world countries, running just fine.

      • Testu

        The vehicles may be, but the tracks and other equipment aren’t. Not to mention, the vehicles are heavily refurbished before they go into service elsewhere.

        No matter how you spin it there is no such thing as a 100 year lifespan for subway equipment. The reality as seen in Toronto is about 25 – 30 years, same as the projected lifetime for the LRT.

  • Westerlies

    But this subway plan is really about solidifying the Sheppard LRT which no one wants.

  • David Hains

    Hey there, I’m the writer here.

    The number of homeless people in Toronto comes from the city’s recent street needs assessment, and 5,219 was the result they got. http://www.toronto.ca/housing/SNA2013interim_report.htm

    If you have any other questions about where we got the numbers from, then ask away and I’ll do my best to provide clarity.

    Thanks for reading.

  • David Hains

    Hey, I’m the writer here!

    It’s understandable to have some confusion about those numbers, because sometimes reports use 2010 $$$ to refer o the project, and sometimes they use future $$$ (how much it will cost when we pay for it). The province’s much cited contribution is $1.48B in 2010 dollars, but it’s $1.99B in future dollars when we factor in inflation and so on.

    The federal contribution of $660M also refers to future dollars.

    Hope this helps.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    That must be why there are so many subways in smaller Ontario cities: their official plans call for boosting density! Now it makes sense!

    Given how much of TTC funding comes from the fare box, that’s the only metric that matters. A line that doesn’t come anywhere close to breaking even in operation costs is a net drain on the entire system. Each time just four people get on at Leslie at the height of rush hour, quality of service everywhere else is reduced.

  • Walter

    Subway $3.6B
    Transit City LRT $2.0B
    LRT connected to elevated ECLRT = $2.3B
    It would be nice if they showed the optimal solution. With a small amount of money, they could have corrected the flaws in the Transit City LRT plan.
    The lesson is that the LRT side was so stubborn and refused to compromise – and they wound up losing. The subway side was flexible enough to look for alternate solutions and eventually wound up winning.

  • Mark Dowling

    my question related more to the source of the money – taxes or “revenue tools” targeted at the 416

  • dealinfacts

    Amazing how facts and figures can get manipulated and ignored to suit an agenda

  • dealinfacts

    Maybe its because subways work and don’t affect the landscape.

  • Markus Parkus

    It’s not all about money. You have to think about what is best long-term. LRT is an eyesore, it’s above ground, and it has the opportunity cost of the above ground space it takes up.
    Subways are below ground, hidden away from the public eye. Not only that, but it’s faster because it eliminates the need to transfer for those travelling from earlier points in the subway.

    • dsmithhfx

      “LRT is an eyesore”

      What? Why? You think paved roads with cars and trucks and big-ass parking lots are pretty? How much space does that take up?

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      What’s the opportunity cost of the middle of the street? Are you proposing toll lanes instead? Median condo towers?

  • Brycon Slaughter Casey

    Whats the city of scarborough and what does the mayor of Toronto have to do with a city outside his jurisdiction?

  • OgtheDim

    Just saw this:

    Not sure where you have seen discussions on this, but:

    As has been stated many times, the high density projects along the Sheppard line are also along the 401 and close to the 404. People are buying there due to location for driving.

    Daniels, who did a lot of the work around Bayview Station, tried to give away, for free, TTC passes to new owners. They couldn’t do it. I think the figure was 2 people accepted them. And that was FREE passes.

    As for “rapidly” developing, those projects have been on the books since the late 90′s.